Favourites for Egypt's presidency attack West
Egypt's leading Islamist candidates in the country's first free presidential election have become increasingly hardline, attacking Western decadence, threatening the country's alcohol industry and demanding implementation of Sharia law.
The Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi, an American-educated professor of engineering, called at the weekend for the release of Omar Abdulrahman, the Egyptian jailed for life in America for incitement to terrorism.
Wednesday's election to replace Hosni Mubarak and the interim military government has gripped the country. It also highlighted the paradox that most Egyptians favour both Turkish-style multi-party democracy and Saudi Arabia's implementation of Islamic law.
Polls suggest that the election front-runners are two secular politicians with ties to the old regime -- Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister, and Ahmed Shafiq, Mr Mubarak's last prime minister -- and two Islamists, Mr Morsi and Abdulmoneim Aboul Fotouh, an independent "liberal Islamist".
Mr Aboul Fotouh said under Sharia no one can be forced to adopt a Muslim lifestyle, such as, for women, wearing the headscarf. His moderate stance has won the support of many liberals.
"He is someone who can be extremely powerful in bridging the divide between Islamists and non-Islamists," said Hossam Bahgat, head of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
Western countries had "neglected" family life, Mr Aboul Fotouh said.
"They have opened up society to commit all sins -- sex, drink, everything," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)